U.S.-v.-Russia: Even Stephen Cohen Is Starting to Speak the Truth

Eric Zuesse

An alarming development is that Stephen F. Cohen, the internationally prominent scholar of Russia, is acknowledging that (1:35 on the video) “for the first time in my long life (I began in this field in the 1960s), I think the possibility of war with Russia is real,” and he clearly and unequivocally places all of the blame for it on the U.S. leadership. He calls this “possibly a fateful turning-point in history.” He also says “it could be the beginning of the end of the so-called trans-Atlantic alliance.”

He goes on to say (2:20): “This problem began in the 1990s, when the Clinton Administration adopted a winner-take-all policy toward post-Soviet Russia … Russia gives, we take. … This policy was adopted by the Clinton Administration but is pursued by every [meaning both] political party, every President, every American Congress, since President Clinton, to President Obama. This meant that the United States was entitled to a sphere or zone of influence as large as it wished, right up to Russia’s borders, and Russia was entitled to no sphere of influence, at all, not even in Georgia, … or in Ukraine (with which Russia had been intermarried for centuries).”

He also speaks clearly about the misrepresentations of Putin by the American Government, and he clearly states (5:25): “He’s more European than 99% of other Russians.”

Regarding Ukraine (5:45): “Since November of 2013, Putin has been not aggressive, but reactive, at every stage.”

Regarding, in America, the effective unanimity of allowed scholarly and media opinions to the contrary of the actual facts, (and this is the most startling thing of all, so you might want to go straight to it, at 7:05): “This is an unprecedented situation in American politics. … This is exceedingly dangerous, and this is a failure of American democracy. Why it happened, I am not sure.”

He condemns (7:30) “this extraordinarily irrational [non] factual demonization of Putin … and this too is hard to explain.”

Europe (8:40): “Now things have begun to change. Europe is splitting on this.” He acknowledges “Crimea is not coming back [to Ukraine],” and urges “a Ukraine — and this is what the dispute began over — free to trade with Russia and with the West.” And, “no membership in NATO for Ukraine. … This has to be in writing. No more oral promises such as they gave to Gorbachev. And it has to be ratified by the United Nations.”

Regarding Obama (13:00): “I have never seen an American President make such personal remarks about a Russian leader [Putin] in public.”

Regarding the existing Ukrainian Government (14:10): “This is not a democratic regime. … Unless the West stops supporting Kiev unconditionally, I fear we are drifting toward war with Russia.”

WOW! When even a word-mincer such as he, is stating that the U.S. Government is seeking to conquer Russia, that is news!

He doesn’t even so much as mention the Ukrainian Government’s war to eliminate the residents in the resisting region (Donbass — Ukraine’s far-east). There is still a lot of the ugliness that he covers up: Obama’s having installed these genocidally anti-Russian nazis into power, the IMFs subservience to the Obama regime, the failure of European leaders to state flat-out that this American establishment of a nazi regime in Europe (Ukraine) is disgusting and will receive no cooperation whatsoever from them.

But it’s a lot better than Cohen’s earlier mealy-mouthed statements. And what it shows to all of us is that he is now truly alarmed. Having started out by condemning “American hawks” regarding Ukraine, he has finally come to condemning specifically both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — two Democratic Party Presidents — and saying that democracy in America might itself already be gone, and that the end of civilization might be the result from all of this. 

Which ought to alarm us all.

Things are so scary now, that even he is beginning to come close to saying publicly (to whatever small public the U.S. aristocracy will allow him to be heard) that America’s corruption at the top is threatening the continued existence of civilization.

Implicit in his statements is that there is massive and systematic censorship and warping of the truth on the part of America’s aristocrats.

Regarding the reason why Cohen had not previously been so alarmed and truth-telling about the Ukrainian situation, he provided a hint in this lecture — a lecture to a group of European scholars:

He said (7:55): “We thought, some of us [Americans] when we got together and talked in 2014, that you would come to our rescue — ‘you’ I mean Europe — … we thought that Europe being part of the same history as Russia, closer to Russia, economically embedded in Russia to an extent that the United States isn’t, would put an end to this crisis. But instead most countries in the EU went along with Washington’s policies.”

In other words: He (and, evidently, his friends) ignored the evidence, such as this and this and this, all of which atrocities Obama supported and his White House was even personally implicated in, which indicated that Obama was hard-charging into conquering Russia, and was using Ukraine as the proxy-state to make it happen, and had used Ukraine’s nazis as his Ukrainian Government’s spearhead, specifically because Ukraine’s nazis fanatically hate Russians and want them dead.

Elsewhere in his talk, Cohen said (12:45) that Obama is “a weak foreign-policy leader.” This is like Hitler-supporter David Irving’s similarly explaining Hitler’s bad decisions by saying that Hitler was a “weak leader who was taken advantage of by his advisors.” Cohen (and presumably also his friends) are like that about Obama: they simply refuse to consider the evidence that the man is evil — they ignore it; they don’t want to see it.

Consequently, with such naivete about power, they were expecting people such as this to block Obama. They shoved responsibility off onto Europeans. In other words: Cohen (and his friends) are blind to the ugliness in their own sty, because they want to be.

Maybe before people like that open their eyes to what’s happening, eveybody will be turned to nuclear char, and so such liberals won’t even need to suffer disillusionment about the world in which they have lived.

Relying upon liberals to protect the world from fascists or even nazis, always fails. But that’s all the aristocracy will even allow onto the field, at all (at least in America). Progressives, people who acknowledge the reality, are portrayed simply as being kooks.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

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  • Observer

    Need to look higher up the food chain that Obama to fully explain this. Russia is once again a Christian country and that cannot be tolerated.

    To learn where the USA sits in a historical context, read “the victory of judaism over Germanism”. It was written in 1879.

    What those who own the governments of the world are doing now is mongrelising every “free” nation so that a Napoleon or Hitler or whoever cannot rise up in the name of nationalism. Once that is under control, they intend fully implementing their plan of extermination of the white Christian races of earth.

    Stupid thing is that they also look white and think they will win.

    • cettel

      And what is the relevance of “judaism” and of “Germanism”; or are you simply an admirer of Hitler and you see everything from his Nazi perspective?

      • mhardin

        Okay genius…the book was written in 1879 (according to Observer) so what the heck does Nazism have to do with anything?

        • Ieahsan

          what a book?

          • David J Gill

            “The Victory of Judaism over Germanism” is a standard anti-semitic rext by Wilhelm Marr who popularized the term “Antisemitism.”

        • David J Gill

          It anti-semitic argument was much the same as that promoted by the Nazis

    • David J Gill

      Don’t you realize that as soon as you invoke anti semitism and speak of a long ago discredited Jewish conspiracy YOU HAVE NO CREDIBILITY. Curious that in you version of world history the Jewish conspiracy leads to the rise of Hitler who you seem to think was in league with this Jewish mongrelization and the plan to exterminate white Christians. Hummm…

      • junktex

        Antisemitism is an overused and inappropriately used word.Sooner or later,the reality of the situation will set in.

        • David J Gill

          Oh, you want to be anti-semitic without being called anti-semitic. Your perceptions of the world clearly aren’t reality.

          • junktex

            “Antisemitism” is the zionists’ “race card”.Used to stifle any criticism of their warmongering,genocide and racism.Great scheme.If one condemns their racism,that one is a racist.I might also point out that most of the Jewish religion aren’t semitic at all,whereas all Palestinians are semitic.That make Israel the most antisemitic place on earth.That being said,my hope is that they will learn to live in peace with the native poopulation.

          • David J Gill

            Calling out any obvious racial bias as “playing the race card” has become a habit of right-wing accusation. It’s a dishonest argument based on a logical fallacy that will fool some of some of the time. Trying to invalidate the term “anti-semitic” by claiming Jews aren’t semitic is another attempt to obscure the issues with a logical fallacy.

            “The Victory of Judaism over Germanism” is a standard anti-semitic rext by Wilhelm Marr who popularized the term “Antisemitism.”

            So, you and the author of the original comment are just wrong all teh way around.

          • junktex

            Your “logic” is deeply flawed as you are blinded by your own bias.There is no doubt that the term “antisemitic” has lost it’s clout due to massive and grossly inappropriate overuse .This has become painfully obvious in zionists’ reaction to criticism of their racist,genocidal war against native Palestinians as well as their horrific justifications for brutalizing and killing innocent civilians,women and children.You represent the neanderthal mindset that bulldozed Rachel Corrie.

          • ZephyrLux

            Well neanderthals are currently believed to have been quite intelligent. In fact, some theories hold they were less violent than humans, which is why they are no longer around and we are. There was also heavy neanderthal/human inbreeding so the reality is you, like everyone else, could be considered somewhat of a neanderthal. Just wanted to clear that up for you!

          • junktex

            I did not use the term,neanderthat, in a strict anthropologic sense,but rather to imply a more primitive,aggressive mindset such as is being exhibited by zionists in general.

          • ZephyrLux

            You are, of course, entirely correct. That said, I’m surprised you didn’t go with his statement about “mongrelising every “free” nation.” No doubt he has some silly reason that’s totally ‘meaningful’ as well though.

  • MC

    Mr.Zuesse, why are there no think tanks populated with educated people, such as yourself, who give a value to every human life and it’s liberty that is equal to our greater than yourselves, and who realize that we need change pretty quickly before we go beyond the point of no return? Is it that no one can find the time, that there are too many spies among us, or that no one gets on well enough to do so? And if the latter, what hope is there for the rest of us to accomplish anything?

  • ZephyrLux

    “This policy was adopted by the Clinton Administration but is pursued by every [meaning both] political party, every President, every American Congress”

    And then

    “he has finally come to condemning specifically both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — two Democratic Party Presidents”


    • David J Gill

      You are right…he’s all over the map with provocative analysis all of which is too vague to consider.

  • giver

    obama won’t stop because some white guy in europe tells him to. he a racist.
    russia will destroy america to the great relief of the world.

    • David J Gill

      That does not make any sense at all.

    • bobbyalpy

      That’ll be the day.The only thing that can destroy America…IS America.Your setting yourself up for disappointment if you think any foreign power or even all of them could conquer us.

  • MC

    Righteous indignation is only righteous if you’re right.

    • David J Gill

      Cynical, simplistic and wrong.

      • MC

        Your reply or my quote?

        • David J Gill

          You are trying to say America is totalitarian, but that just isn’t relevant word. America might be worthy of criticism but America is not authoritarian and Russia is.

  • bobbyalpy

    I have nothing but disdain for the Obama Precidency,but I absolutely hate fucking Russia.They antagonized us for too long for it ever to be forgotten.It will always and forever be the goal of The United States to grind russia beneath our feet.It’s said that Cato The Censor would end every speech with the words…”and Carthage must be destroyed.”…russia is our Carthage.All we need now is a Scipio.

    • David J Gill

      Well…CATO was nuts. They extermination of Carthage was no exactly admirable. The United states does not want to destroy Russia. The US wants Russia to behave and not menace its neighbors and not posture as a military threat to anyone.

      Your stupid sentiment is exactly what the Kremlin claims. It’s propaganda. US policy is not influenced by your viewpoint.

      • bobbyalpy

        Cato was not nuts and Carthage attacked Latin interests repeatedly.Not only that,The Carthaginians sacrificed children to Baal.So yeah…Carthage being destroyed was about right.

        • David J Gill

          The myth that Carthaginians sacrificed children has been debunked by historians who have begun investigating a much neglected history. I came across an excellent video on Carthage on Youtube about new scholarship.
          Cato seems to me dogmatic, inflexible and violent in a way that is no longer acceptable.

          • bobbyalpy

            Not a myth asshole,they found the God damn cave where they interred the burnt up corpses.Even if you were right,which you’re fucking not you commie loving cocksucker,I would still think it was awesome of Rome to wipe out their enemies.Right after an Americans heart they were.

          • bobbyalpy

            Of course a guy who learns from YouTube would think that.

          • bobbyalpy

            Yeah…I’m dogmatic and violent and I love to see Americas enemies destroyed,but at least I’m not an obanga loving,Cunt lapping pussy.

          • David J Gill

            Foul mouthed, violent, reckless and poor logic but you can’t even debate the facts on an ancient civilization, instead you resort to obscene insults. And you know too little about Rome if you are inclined to suggest that the US should pattern itself after the routine, abject brutality of Rome.

          • bobbyalpy

            The Roman Republic was worth emulating and nothing you say about how little you know ,will change the fact that Carthage sowed the wind by attacking Romes trade interests in the Mediterranean and Rome delivered the whirlwind.You are well aware(or at least you should be)that our own Republic has little pity for challengers to our hedgemony in our hemisphere…to include all nato members and I would go as far as to include potential nato members.And boyo,I have forgotten more about history than you will ever know.

          • bobbyalpy

            You’d be surprised what is now acceptable.”The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time,with the blood of patriots and tyrants alike.It is it’s natural manure.”-Thomas Jefferson.It’s always been acceptable to put a question to trial by combat…to the victor goes the spoils of war.

          • David J Gill

            You have changed your tone I guess. You are right, things like that are said and taken seriously.

          • bobbyalpy

            My tone is always the same.I care only for my country and my fellow citizens.I care about allies as much as they are useful and enemies must be destroyed and/or subdued.I have no guilt that my culture has a knack for war in ways in which other cultures are pathetically wanting.Russians should see Americas desire to bring her down as a compliment.It’s a manifestation of our realization that Russia alone is a worthy enemy.Hell I miss the Cold War where our enemies were worthy of our efforts to conquer them.

    • AlexeySerg

      Idiot. Angry idiot.

      • bobbyalpy

        I’m not angry at all.I’m actually quit satisfied that Russia has shown it’s true colors again.It allows us to drop the whole buddy,buddy shit.

    • Вера Мамбауэр

      And how exactly did Russia antagonize US? Research yourself how many military bases does US/NATO have around the world, and how many does Russia have? NATO surrounded Russia from almost every side now, and you are talking about Russia antagonizing USA

      • bobbyalpy

        Well let’s see.You are busy reconstituting The Soviet Union by absorbing the old eastern block countries piecemeal(first Georgia now The Ukraine).You granted asylum to Edward Snowden for no other reason than that it really pissed us off.We still remember Cuba,Korea,Vietnam etc.,etc.
        In general,for the past century,Russians have gone out of their way to antagonize us.If I must be fair,I suppose that we have been just as hostile.It’s only natural as we are enemies.

        • Вера Мамбауэр

          Yes. Iet’s see. First of all. not too many examples in your response. And even they are not factual. If Russia has been doing wrong things in Ukraine, I wonder what Victoria Nuland was doing there giving muffins away on Maidan Square in the beginning of Bloody revolution there? SHe confessed herself that US spent more than 5 million dollars in “helping Ukraine gain new government”. Please, research things. According to international law, Ukrainian President Yanukovich was outcasted completely illegally. And US had a lot to do with that. What about all the other countries that US helped to do the same things during just past decade? Very many. And always, under the mask of “establishing democracy”. Please, do not talk so angry about things you do not know. I was personally on Russian-Ukrainian border where refugees from Eastern Ukraine was feeling their homeland. They lived there for decades. They worked there, built their homes and had families. Ukrainian National Army has been bombing them like crazy (under direction of US generals. Check out the press and photos. EVery time US official visited Kiev, the military attacks on Eastern Ukraine intensified). So, refugees from Eastern Ukraine, who lost their children, their homes, their families, say clearly who is doing what. So-called Russian terrorists did not kill a single child or a peaceful citizens in Kiev or Western/central part of Ukraine. But peaceful citizens in Eastern Ukraine continue to suffer. Families were living in damp cold basements for weeks because of bombings. They were bombing even children’s hospitals. And Kiev did not help a single child or an elderly. THey did not feed them when they lost their homes. THey did not give them medications. Even bread. People were happy when Russians brought trucks with humanitarian aid there. Kiev took elderly’ pensions away. They kept bombing and bombing. Parents saw their children die in front of them. Should I post pictures of little kids lying in coffins that parents buried in Eastern Ukraine for the past 3 months? So, who is doing what with Ukraine? I personally know people who have direct every day contact with their relatives in Eastern part of Ukraine. And what they tell us is far away from what you read in newspapers here. I can explain also why so-called terrorists tried to defend their homes in Eastern Ukraine. You can even find pictures of Nazi army emblems on Ukrainian soldiers on internet. It’s everywhere. They hate Russian people who lived in Ukraine all their life. They praise their national “heroes” who killed Russian soldiers during WWII. What about NATO bombings of Yugaslavia? So many people died about 15 years ago. WHat about Iraq? What about Libiya? The list goes on.

          • bobbyalpy

            Who fucking cares?The point is,we will always be enemies.The fucking Russians could donate money to homeless children and we would still fucking hate you.There isn’t any point in trying to understand it…I don’t understand it.Just accept that it is and let’s get this war started already.

          • bobbyalpy

            So what?Dead russians are fine with me.I could care less that the Ukrainians used to be dirty nazis,so long as the kill russians they are fine by me,

        • Scandy27

          I am sorry! But could you learn the historical facts a bit close and not sound that stupid

          • bobbyalpy

            What exactly was it that I said,that wasn’t a fact?You said,”learn my historical facts a bit close”.What the fuck does that even mean?How about you learn to strong a few words together in an actual sentence you fucking asshat.Who’s stupid now?

      • bobbyalpy

        We can have as many military bases as we want because we are The Fucking United States of Americe.Do as I say and not as I do is the rule of the day.We defeated you russian scum and isolated you because we can…simple as that.So suck it up,quit your bitching and take what scraps we choose to throw down from the table you russian worms.

  • Xenophon

    I have two criticisms of your article:

    1. “They shoved responsibility off onto Europeans.”

    You need to justify this statement, since the history of Cohen’s activism suggests its not true. Cohen has for years been advocating alternative policies towards Russia, but has been marginalized by the media and by Washington officialdom. Indeed, he’s advocated his views in public forums, in the alternative media and he has published them copiously in the Nation as well as in numerous books. In fact, at the height of Yeltsin’s plundering, Cohen produced a PBS series that interviewed the Russian opposition in order to provide the American public with an exposure to alternatives to Yeltsin.

    So to what end has he “shoved responsibility” off onto Europeans? To my mind, and given his extensive record of opposition to Washington’s policies, his comments, the ones you are criticizing, were representing a reasonable observation rather than a shirking of responsibility. I think any informed observer would expect Europe to oppose Washington’s policies towards Russia. In fact, Europe at the moment is actually splitting over the issue, so it may be the case that Europe will make a stand against Washington. To this end, current European proposals such as replacing NATO with an EU controlled army, suggest that a European break with Washington is already taking shape politically and militarily. Mind you, such proposals are being made in the upper echelons of the EU, so they ought to be taken seriously.

    2. “he has finally come to condemning specifically both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama”

    It is obvious to me that you are unfamiliar with Professor Cohen’s work since, if you had put in the minimal effort to actual familiarize yourself with it, you would know that Cohen, almost alone, was publicly critical of Clinton’s policies towards Russia all throughout the 90’s.

    More specifically, in numerous Nation columns and in the book ‘Failed Crusade’, published during the Clinton administration, Cohen carefully dissected Clinton’s policies and concluded that they were ‘disastrous’ and that they caused ‘perilous damage’ to Russian society. To support this conclusion, he pointed towards the collapse of Russia’s civil society, its economy, its political culture as well as the fact that Russia’s nuclear arms controls were eroded and so posed a tremendous threat to world security.

    He went even further in his indictments and castigated the US establishment media, the political class, policymakers and the world of scholarship for supporting, what he called a catastrophic ‘failed crusade’ in Russia.

    In fact, his more interesting critiques were leveled at scholarship, since, as he pointed out, scholars have less constraints than journalists and politicians and so have more reason to develop sophisticated views about their subjects. Despite this fact, as he so effectively illustrated in his published critiques, the world of scholarship not only supported Clinton and Yeltsin’s plunder of Russia, but consistently neglected to accurately represent Russian history and ignored Russian realities as well as real political alternatives to what scholarship inaccurately depicted as inevitable events in history. To this latter criticism he did much to advocate the view that Gorbachev did not end the Soviet Union, rather Yeltsin did, in a reckless grab for power, and that the United States lost a historic opportunity to help Gorbachev achieve a democratic Soviet Union, and so lost a potentially great partner in the international community. To my knowledge, he is the only American scholar of Russian studies who has adopted this thesis, which, if valid, which I think he demonstrates it to be, means that the thesis of ‘inevitability’, widely held in American Russian scholarship, grossly misrepresents Russian history and so distorts our understanding of what America’s options are for crafting our policies towards Russian. This is a damning criticism of US Russian scholarship forcefully argued for by Cohen.

    So, rather than having “finally” come to a critical position, specifically of Clinton but also of the rest of the American establishment, Cohen virtually defined the position during the 90’s.

    If you had done a modicum of homework, rather than loosing an unfounded tirade, you would have learned something of value about the professor you are so unfairly denouncing.

    I suggest that you pick up some of his books, especially ‘Failed Crusade’, so that you can learn a thing or two about his opinions on the Clinton administration as it was in power.

    That all being said, my last comment is this: a personalized rant against someone who you view in a certain way neither progresses the debate, nor helps inform others about the topic. Hence, it is a drag on potentially constructive discussions about serious questions of policy. Try conducting yourself in a rational mode as well as doing some research prior to making a tirade.

  • Hatuxka

    The zionist backers of the The Nation have given him permission. So we’ll get some too-tame take on this crazy, rabid, fuliminating obsession with antagonizing Russia.

    • David J Gill

      Any review of THE NATION’s content on Israel will show that the publication is not Zionist.

  • junktex

    Insane DC neocons are even considering use of nukes in conventional war theater.

  • Holocau$t Lies – Who Profits

    antisemitic: any thought or person that a Jew doesn’t like

    There are the ‘Nazis’ with the mythological ‘6M & gas chambers’ and there are the ‘Nazis’ without the mythological ‘6M & gas chambers’.

    The ‘6M & gas chambers’ are an impossible fraud.
    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:
    No name calling, level playing field debate here:

    The ‘holocaust’ storyline is one of the most easily debunked narratives ever contrived. That is why those who question it are arrested and persecuted. That is why violent, racist, & privileged Jewish supremacists demand censorship. What sort of truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth? Truth needs no protection from scrutiny.

    The tide is turning.